Seven Skeletons

  • by Lydia Pyne
  • Narrated by Randye Kaye
  • 7 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Over the last century, the search for human ancestors has spanned four continents and resulted in the discovery of hundreds of fossils. While most of these discoveries live quietly in museums, there are a few that have become world-renowned celebrity personas. In Seven Skeletons, historian of science Lydia Pyne explores how seven such famous fossils of our ancestors have the social cachet they enjoy today.
Drawing from archives, museums, and interviews, Pyne builds a cultural history for each celebrity fossil. These seven include the three-foot-tall "hobbit" from Flores, the Neanderthal of La Chapelle, the Taung Child, the Piltdown Man hoax, Peking Man, Australopithecus sediba, and Lucy - all vivid examples of how discoveries of our ancestors have been received, remembered, and immortalized.
With wit and insight, Pyne brings to life each fossil: how it is described, put on display, and shared among scientific communities and the broader public. This fascinating, endlessly entertaining book puts the impact of paleoanthropology into new context, a reminder of how our past as a species continues to affect, in astounding ways, our present culture and imagination.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fascinating social history!

This book isn't so much about the evolution on hominids, but the life of the fossils that shed light on our family tree. It gives the history of famous fossils from their discovery to their current status in our society. It's a really fun book, because it presents a side of the fossils we don't often consciously think about. The narration was very good!
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- Kay M Hawklee

Get ready to hear the same thing over and over

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Not sure.


What could Lydia Pyne have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

She had a good premise, but by the third, fourth... time of hearing it again, I was way past it. There were lots of interesting details in the book, but they were buried by the repetitive nature of the book.


How did the narrator detract from the book?

I might be unfair to the narrator because I was bored many times during the book.


You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

There were lots of interesting facts in the book about the artifacts. If the author had covered more artifacts instead of repeating so much, the book might have been pretty good.


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- Richard

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-16-2016
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio